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THE SCOOP | Canada Scores Fifth In The Global Influential Music Index

By Anya Wassenberg on March 1, 2021

concert scene

Which country influences the world of music the most?

It’s a good question, and one that has been debated over the decades. A new study attempts to answer that question, and Canada comes up at the number five position overall.

The Global Influential Music Index study comes from Medimops, an online marketplace for previously loved CDs and vinyl records. As Europe’s largest online retailer of secondhand music recordings, the company commissioned a data-driven study that aimed to determine which country had the most influence globally when it comes to music.

The first step was what criteria would determine such a question.

The Criteria

Information from streaming services Spotify, Youtube and iTunes/Apple Music was used to compile data on several parameters, including the obvious play and view statistics, along with music infrastructure in each country, to come up with scores in several different categories.

Identifying the most popular artists was the first step. From that, the globe was cut to the top 30 countries on the list. The reach of each artist was determined by looking at how popular they were outside of their own national and ethnic bubble. Each country’s contributions to the world of music through the ages was also taken into account, including everyone from the master composers of the Baroque era to modern-day pop stars.

One of the more interesting parameters was an ethnomusicological analysis of each country’s traditional and folk music to determine how unique it was in a global context. How well does each of the nations on the list protect and value its musical heritage, in other words? Brazil came in first in this category, followed by Colombia and Ireland.

When it comes to infrastructure, the study considered the number of music schools, along with the percentage of the workforce employed in the music/culture industry. A popular destination for major concerts tours earned a country extra points.

All the data and methodology used is available on their website.

The Results

The top ten most influential countries list in full (in order) is: USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Ireland.

Here’s how Canada held up against the international competition in specific categories.

Music Influence:

  • 4th in Most Played Acts
  • 3rd in Global Influence
  • 16th in Renowned Musicians
  • 26th in World Music Uniqueness

Music Infrastructure:

  • 6th in Top Music Schools
  • 15th in Arts Employment
  • 7th in Music Label HQs
  • 4th in Music Tours (2015 to 2019)

Genre Output:

  • 8th in Pop
  • 9th in Electronic
  • 4th in Rock
  • 14th in Classical

Russia came in first when it comes to classical music production.

An Imperfect Snapshot

The report itself notes that, while there is clearly a huge market for music in China, no data was available on streaming for purposes of comparison. Likewise, there is a dearth of data on local music infrastructure in Jamaica, the report claims.

It also has to be pointed out that the study only considered the standard four genres of North American and European music, being pop, electronic, rock, and classical. However, despite the bias toward Western music genres, South Africa came in 12th overall, South Korea 15th, and India 20th.

Even with its avowed limitations, the study does give Canadians a glimpse at how our growing musical heritage continues to influence the rest of the world.


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